By Leah Hochbaum Rosner
One of MIPCOM’s most veteran executives is certainly Irv Holender, now director/principal of Toronto-based The Fremantle Corporation. Irv has attended both MIP-TV and MIPCOM in different capacities, roles and companies since 1967. First, he came as president of Hollywood-based Desilu; then as president of L.A.-based Ziv; then as CEO of Lorimar/Ziv, after the company was taken over by Lorimar; then as chairman of the L.A.-based Liberty. Earlier this year, he joined the board of The Fremantle Corporation, which used to be run by the late Paul Talbot from New York City.
VideoAge spoke with Holender about Fremantle’s new product, whether he attends sessions at MIP or MIPCOM, to assess the possibility of a Screen Actors Guild’s (SAG) strike and to discuss whether Europeans could have better capitalized on the plunging U.S. dollar.
VideoAge International: What product are you bringing to MIPCOM?
Irv Holender: We’re bringing in a series of animated movies, The Fantastic Tales. It’s a package of animated features dealing with historical and classic subjects, such as Leonardo Da Vinci, for example. We have not revealed the other topics just yet. We’re also bringing Canyon Rangers, a movie that will serve as a pilot for an ongoing family series. It deals with a family that rescues people in the Green Valley area, and it’s filled with action and suspense. In addition, we also have a package of 40 new features, plus ongoing series, including All My Children, Snapped, and Look Alike.
VAI: Do you have anything special planned for the market?
IH: No. We do however, have lots of meetings already scheduled and we expect to make a bunch of announcements at the show.
VAI: Speaking of all the meetings you already have planned, do you ever get a chance to leave the booth to attend any of the many sessions, panels and seminars offered by Reed Midem?
IH: We do have some people attending, but I usually find myself too busy. The market isn’t what it used to be. Now, it and its sessions focus too much on new media. I’d rather there be more broadcasters at MIPCOM and less of a focus on new media. The new media model has not yet proven itself to be a positive financial model for anybody. I still believe in old media. People still want to see TV on a big screen.
VAI: Do you think that MIPCOM will still be feeling the aftereffects of the U.S. writers’ strike? How so?
IH: There won’t be any aftereffects from the writers’ strike, other than the fact that so many reality shows sprang up. But reality shows aren’t evergreen. People will lose interest. We’re focusing on evergreen shows. Also, I believe that there will be a Screen Actors Guild strike. It’s unavoidable. And everyone will be affected this time.
VAI: The dollar has had a rather bad year. How will that affect the market?
IH: With the financial woes of the world, I had hoped that with the euro being as strong as is it, that Europeans would have taken advantage of it somehow. But they didn’t do anything with an entire yearlong window. And now the dollar’s going back up and they won’t be able to do anything.